Eurobites: EU Gets Tough on Net Neutrality

Paul Rainford
News Analysis
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

Also in today's EMEA roundup: Tele Columbus plans IPO; AlcaLu teams up with Accenture; data sonification -- can you dig it?

  • The incoming European Union telecoms commissioner -- who will replace Neelie ("doesn't rhyme with 'steely'") Kroes -- has nailed his colors firmly to the mast of net neutrality, Reuters reports. Germany's Guenther Oettinger said: "Net neutrality is a common interest for all users and for all citizens, and additionally in the public interest -- emergency cases and so on -- there may be an exemption, but not for businesses, not for business cases, therefore we need neutrality for all users." In other words, the likes of Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) shouldn't be able to do deals with operators to guarantee faster Internet access. (See Could Europe's Net Neutrality Legislation Cause a Comms Car Crash?)

  • Tele Columbus AG , Germany's third-largest cable operator with a particularly strong presence in the east of the country, has announced plans for an IPO by the end of the year. The company expects the move would generate at least 300 million (US$377 million), and the money would be used to reduce its debt and provide greater financial flexibility for its growth strategy. (See Tele Columbus Announces IPO.)

  • Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is in a friendly mood. It has formed an alliance with business consultancy Accenture to jointly market "ultra-broadband solutions" to large enterprises, with Accenture providing the business-transformation knowhow and AlcaLu providing the technical bits. The two companies are starting their collaboration with a focus "customer care for mobile devices based on Alcatel-Lucent's Motive line of products." They also plan to "explore small cell wireless network solutions with a focus on integrating cellular technology and WiFi between service providers and large enterprises." Alcatel-Lucent has also formed a partnership with JCDecaux, which is very big in "street furniture"-related advertising, such as billboards on bus shelters, for example. The partnership will allow AlcaLu to better integrate its small cells with JCDecaux's street furniture, improving connectivity in urban areas without, it is hoped, creating too much visual clutter. (See Alcatel-Lucent, Accenture Form Customer Care Unit.)

  • Sweden's Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) says it has completed the modernization of its mobile networks in the Baltics, following the recent upgrade of its Estonian network. Nokia Networks has been Tele2's partner in the modernization program.

  • Sky has invested $5 million in Sharethrough, which is described as a specialist in "native advertising," offering software that enables publishers to monetize their sites and apps with ads that are "non-interruptive" and blend into the surrounding content. (Sneaky, huh?) As part of the the deal, Jamie West, deputy managing director of Sky Media, will take a board observer position at Sharethrough.

  • TalkTalk and Three UK , UK service providers that are looking to challenge the big boys in the triple- and quad-play arenas, have called on regulator Ofcom to make it much easier to switch mobile providers, the Financial Times reports (subscription required). In a letter to Ofcom, the respective CEOs said they wanted to see the introduction of a "gaining provider led system," meaning a system under which consumers need only speak to their potential new provider, rather than having to obtain a code from their existing provider.

  • What happens when seven physicists play music inside the world's most powerful particle accelerator? It's a question we often ask ourselves during quiet moments at Eurobites Towers. Well, now we have the answer. You get music based on the translation into melody (or "sonification," if you will) of scientific data collected by the four main Large Hadron Collider experiments. And it's really quite groovy: Lie back on your chaise longue and check it out here.

    Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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